Want To Be in Movies? What You Need To Know to Avoid the Sharks and Scammers
Are Acting Managers and Agents Necessary?
With over 25 years in the entertainment business, I have formed definite opinions about the role of agents and managers. I'm writing this article to both educate and protect the reader from bogus, money-hungry, out-right lying scams so prevelant here in the US.
These vultures not only think nothing of robbing wanna be actors, models, singers and comedians from their life-savings. They play on the hopes and dreams of the unsuspecting. Not only does this behavior not bother them, they are quick to boast and laugh about their long list of "sign-ups".
I have witnessed parents selling their car, taking out big loans, borrowing large somes of money from family and friends just to pay an unqualified agent his rediculous fee. Never is this more true then with bogus management representation.
Parents need to be more informed and cautious before putting their children or themselves in to the hands of clever and deceptive agents and managers.
Bogus, Money-Hungry, Scammer Talent Agents
Legitimate Agents Never Charge a Fee
Remember this and spread the word to your family and friends:
- Legitimate agents make their money only when you do. They make a percentage based on your earnings. They will never ask for an up-front fee.
- The only time agents advertise is when they hold an "open audition" or "open call". These announcements are broadcast on the radio, in the newspaper, sometimes on the internet and occasionally on television.
- Open auditions are rare, perhaps once a year only.
- Reputable agents do not need to advertise for clients. Their clients are so good and so busy they do not need to advertise.
Tips to Help You When Looking For an Acting Agent
The role of a Film Agent is a major powerbroker in the industry controlling many aspects of it. Here are important tips to safeguard your selection when looking for an acting agent:
- Agents in the music business, are involved in booking, live personal appearances and concerts.
- Agents will hand you a contract to sign, which allows them a small percentage of your income (10%). They are only paid, when you are paid.
- Agents must be regulated by unions such as AFM, AFTRA, and SAG. You absolutely must do your homework and check to make sure your agent has membership in each of these unions. These unions are your seal of approval for the endless list of agents available.
- Agents do not approach a person with a promise to make them a star. Never! Yes, there are a few stories circulating around with conflicting rumors - but not true, especially in today's market.
- These "sharks" are popular in malls where they prey upon young people, innocent and starry-eyed.
- If these "hunters" approach you, ask for their business card and NEVER give them your personal information, like your name, phone number or address.
- If the business card given to you has the above union names printed on the face of the card, call the unions to verify that they are members. Anyone can claim to be a member in these legitimate unions.
- Do your homework and ask around. And parents - do talk to your children about this and keep them safe.
The William Morris Agency - Los Angeles, Ca.
Some of the greatest stars in the movie industry are signed with William Morris.
The Truth About Talent Managers
A manager used to be a person you absolutely needed to guide your career. Even if you were an established artist or a big star, managers were in big demand. Now, A manager can be just about anyone from an aspiring actors manager to a celebrities manager and anything in between.
When searching for management look for reputable qualified companies preferably one that will help you get signed with an agent. A manager will take a hefty percentage of everything that brings in the money. This may include all films, commercials, voice-overs, recordings, stage, screen, and television as well as promotional items (t-shirts, mugs, caps).
An honest manager will ask you to sign a contract and have no problem with you taking the contract to an attorney. Entertainment attorneys don't come cheap so save your money. Personally, I would not do business with a manager who doesn't insist on a contract. The contract protects you as well as your manager.
Get Educated About The Acting Business
The best thing you can do for your career is to learn everything you can about the business. Take a trip to the library and read and study everything you can find in the entertainment business. Also, keep in mind that what you learn in a manual or book, written in 1999, may have totally changed. So, keep current. Scan the internet for the latest laws, new information, and fees.
The other thing you must do is to study your craft - again and again. Always take a class to become a better actor, model or singer. When you stop studying, you stop growing.
My Favorite Actor Eddie Redmayne - Interview
Believe In Yourself ~
Not everyone "makes it" in the movie and television industry. The few who do make it are persistent, very well-prepared and sometimes have a little luck. But, I want to say this - if being an actor or a singer, is what you are all about - if it is your passion, your dream, and your very life - you must believe in yourself and never, ever give up!
Go to every audition, knock on every door, learn all you can and be prepared...be prepared...be prepared.
Go out there and really sell yourself - again and again, and again. Don't stop. Prove to yourself that nothing will stop you because you truly are unstoppable.
No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul. - Ingmar Bergman
© 2011 Audrey Hunt